By Libby Casey
F-B-I files of former Senator Ted Stevens don’t shed light into the federal corruption investigation of him, but they do open a window into history. The F-B-I released thousands of pages about Stevens on Friday, 6 months after his death. The bulk of the pages are just newspaper clippings documenting the investigation and trial of Stevens. He was accused of taking gifts and not reporting them, but the government’s case against him fell apart in 2009 due to misconduct by prosecutors.
The F-B-I files do NOT offer insights into either accusations against Stevens or the government’s missteps in prosecuting him. Nor do they give information about other investigations such as that into his son, former state legislator Ben Stevens.
But hundreds of pages show what it’s like to be a U-S Senator. They document threats against Stevens, which were taken very seriously… and tips he gave the F-B-I, like when one constituent complained about rampant marijuana growing and selling in his area. They also dig into the deep past, when Stevens was starting his career as a prosecutor in Fairbanks in the 1950s. He criticized the F-B-I for not investigating a prisoner’s escape from jail… which came back to haunt him, because director J-Edgar Hoover held it against him and referred to it over the years.
The Stevens files were released because of Freedom of Information Act or FOIA requests. There are still investigations going on into the misconduct of prosecutors and agents, and the broad investigation into corruption in Alaska politics is still open. That made it unlikely that the F-B-I would release sensitive files related to their investigations.